It gives me great pleasure to send my greetings to the New York Gala Awards Dinner for 2003 and to join you in paying tribute to Mikhail Gorbachev, the distinguished founding president of Green Cross International.
It is little wonder that, ten years ago, after playing a central role in the end of the Cold War, Mr. Gorbachev embraced a new challenge that is just as vital for the well being of humankind: creating a sustainable future by cultivating harmonious relationships between human beings and the environment.
Green Cross's diverse programmes reflect Mr. Gorbachev's unwavering commitment to peace, in particular by addressing the environmental causes and consequences of conflict. It is encouraging to know that you are paying so much attention to the prevention of conflicts in water-stressed regions, and to mitigating the environmental legacy of the Cold War and other wars.
Ensuring environment sustainability is not only an urgent necessity in its own right, it is also crucial for the success of the global fight against poverty, hunger and disease. There is no time to lose if we are to achieve this Millennium Development Goal and pass on to our children a viable planet that can provide for the needs of succeeding generations.
Mr. Gorbachev's leadership, determination and tireless work for a more sustainable future are making a valuable contribution to the efforts of the United Nations in this area. In that spirit of partnership, I am pleased to wish Green Cross International and Global Green USA a happy tenth anniversary. I would also like to congratulate the recipients of this year's awards and to offer my best wishes to all of you for a memorable evening.